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Adaptive reuse plan developed for vacant West Side church

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

A long-closed and seemingly vandalized church at Bird and Hoyt will be turned into apartments under plans starting the process through the City Planning Board.

If plans fall into place, the former Bethlehem Presbyterian Church will open in the fall of next year as Cornerstone Lofts, with 12 market rate units built within the church structure.

"If you look at them from a creative perspective, there's a lot of interesting architectural features that can be used in the rehab," said Developer Michael Pietrocarlo.

"Floor plans for each individual unit tend to be very unique. It's hard to replicate them because of the shape of the exterior, the envelope of the building. So, there are some challenges, for sure."

Pietrocarlo says he first saw the church while driving through the neighborhood and discovered it was being sold. When that deal fell through, he bought it.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.